Peplum Top

The Peplum Top by Morgan Woltersdorf (@Morthunder on IG) was promised to be an “insanely simple knit” and it certainly was.

The pattern was straight forward and included diagrams. Best part? No need to go through the pattern and circle your sizing numbers. Morgan made a separate PDF for each size! I used a needle size down from the recommended US Size 9 needles as I wanted the stitches to be a little more compact. The US size 9s were making my top a little too see through for my liking.

I used DROPS Cotton Merino in Powder Pink. This was my first time using this yarn. It is really soft and lovely during and after knitting. I have worn my Peplum Top in two different hot climates (California and China) and the merino wool does not make it too hot to wear at all. The yarn also has notable stitch definition. I am curious about using it with texture knitting. I bet it would really show off cables well.

My only issue with this cute top is the volume of the skirt/peplum. There is a little too much material for my frame. I could have done with using the medium sizing to create the top and the small sizing to create the skirt/peplum. Nonetheless, I am extremely overjoyed with this top. It makes my collar bones and shoulders look awesome!

Until Next Time,

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Abalone Cardigan

I spotted Abalone on Ravelry and knew that it was perfect for the Morris & Sons cotton (color: Onyx) I had purchased in Australia. The construction fit my knitwear basics criteria (versatile, simple construction, short sleeve).

The main feature I really liked was that the cardigan was meant to not close completely. I don’t know about you, but I really hate when you wear a cardigan unbuttoned and the front panels flap around as you walk. Abalone’s shape made this issue virtually obsolete.

Warnings: 1) The pattern is more of a guide. So if you are not a size small be ready to do some math to calculate the number of stitches you need. 2) Be careful with the edging section. There is a high risk you can make it too tight (i.e., not casting on enough stitches) and the result will have the bottom of the cardigan not laying flat against your body. Therefore, the back of the cardigan may look like it is greatly enhancing your booty.

Until Next Time,

Huatau Cardigan

It has been a long while since I have posted, but I am back and ready to continue sharing my knits and adventures.

For the last few months, I have been working on trying to build up my knitwear basics. Guangzhou, China is incredibly hot (think 30 degrees C/ 90 degrees+ F) for 9 months out of the year. I mostly wear tank dresses, but often need a light layer when I am sitting in the office. My preference is a short sleeve cardigan that is easy to throw on or off. I also like a solid color so I can wear it with a variety of outfits.

Enter the Huatau Cardigan. My initial thoughts were that I loved the basic construction of the piece and the added detail along the spine of the cardigan. It looked like the perfect piece to wear with casual wear as well as something to go with professional wear.

The Huatau pattern recommends using wool, but that would be waaaaaaay too hot. So I decided to take a chance and use a new to me cotton blend called Drops Belle in Valkoinen (or white). This yarn is cotton mixed with rayon and linen. Drops Belle was not my favorite. It had good stitch definition; however, when working with the yarn it shed a lot. While knitting, if I was wearing any dark colored clothing I would have to lint roll myself if I planned on going out afterward. I am hoping that since I have blocked the sweater there won’t be anymore shedding going on.

I am 90% happy with my final garment. Things I love about it:

  1. The yarn is light to wear and I since I choose white I can wear it with basically anything in my wardrobe.
  2. The pattern was well-written and easy to follow.
  3. The cardigan fits me well lengthwise.

Not my favorite:

  1. The cardigan is too loose in the shoulder and neckline area. Therefore, the back of the neck begins to pucker as I wear it because the shoulder area slides around a bit.

I am going to attribute this issue to the fact that I used a cotton blend of yarn, which is prone to not hold its shape as well as wool. If I were to make this cardigan in cotton again I would make the small size to get a closer fit in the shoulder area.

I continue to be a fan of Francoise Danoy over at Arohaknits. Her patterns are well-written, keep any level of knitter interested, and I just really enjoy how she incorporates texture into her patterns.

What are some of your favorite knitwear basics to knit?

Until Next Time,

Yarn Shopping in Melbourne

Last week, I headed to Melbourne for a professional development course. I have to say I waited too long to purchase my flight tickets so I ended up taking some really crummy timed flights. I took a red eye to Melbourne (with a stop over in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia) and got to the city around 10 AM. I was exhausted, but I trooped on and saw the sights. Melbourne is a really cool city. It is well known for its street art alleys as well as its friendly people. Personally, it reminded me a lot of San Francisco… and so I loved it.

I also “needed” to get some yarn shopping in.  My goal was to make it to the yarn shop Yarn +Co before closing time (Sunday hours are 12-4). I entered the Fitzroy neighborhood  and was instantly charmed. Smith Street is just so cute. There are fun little boutiques (e.g., A Harry Potter merchandise shop!) and restaurants to explore. Yarn +Co is a really nice yarn shop. They stock mostly moderate to high priced brands- Cascade, Brooklyn Tweed, Quince and Co- but did have a few brands I had not seen before. The store had a range in yarn weights and everything was out to touch! The needle selection was okay, and the store stocked tons of patterns and books to choose from. The sales associate (who I suspect was the owner) was very friendly and knew when to help me locate things and when to just let me enjoy all the yarn goodies in peace.

I ended up purchasing 2 skeins of sock yarn, 4 balls of cotton yarn, and a set of US size 2 double pointed needles. I got the Rainbow sock yarn wound up right away as I wanted to start a pair of socks. My total came out to be about $100 (Australian Dollars).IMG_3434

Overall, my yarn shopping experience was awesome! If I lived in Melbourne this would certainly be a place I would shop at. The combination of staff, space, and yarn was a win win for me!

Until Next Time,

-Whit-

Side Note: Check out this awesome yarn creation! The school my course was being held at had a giant crochet/knitting display of the Very Hungry Caterpillar. How cute it this!?!

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Colorwork Hat

It is now October, which means I have about 2 months to get my Christmas knitting together. My plan is to knit for about 7 people this year. I am feeling ambitious so I will probably be making a few objects that are not hats, hence the getting started in October. With this being said, I started with a hat (hahaha).

I made one of my basic beanies (80 stitches on US Size 8 needles). This hat is made with a worsted weight wool/ acrylic blend (sorry no brand name). I used the leftover grey yarn in my Costal Pullover. I just went with the flow with this knit. One of my favorite color work patterns is this alternating color speckle. It is super easy and allows me to work on holding two strands of yarn in both hands. I don’t know if you can notice, but I played with holding the yarn in different hands half way through to see my tension difference.

My little experiment yielded that the non-dominant color needs to be in my left hand (aka using the Continental method) so that it pops. If I hold it in my right the tension is too tight and the dominant color swallows it up. This hat is intended for my old co-worker. I am debating if I should add a multi-colored pom pom on the top. She seems like a pom pom type of girl, but I am not quite sure.

To add a pom pom or not?

Until Next Time,

-Whit-

Vita de Vie Sweater

Vita de Vie is the latest sweater I have finished from Pom Pom Magazine (Issue 24). This sweater was very interesting to make. You begin at the cuff of one sleeve and then move toward the midline. I will say that this type of construction is not for you out there who hate seaming and the kitchener’s stitch. There is A LOT of it.

Vita de Vie is a well written pattern. I like how there are 6 sizes available and the model’s dimensions are included. Sometimes it is hard for me to picture how the sweater will look on me so it is nice to know approximately how similar (or different) the model’s body is to mine. The pattern is super clear and the lace section is charted and written out. I much prefer written directions when executing a pattern. All of those symbols just add a layer of complexity that I would rather avoid.

I used some yarn I purchased in Beijing. It is a Chinese brand that is a wool combination. The yarn was a little rough when working with it. It also felt like the material was really dense and weighty. However, after a wash my new sweater is feeling oh so soft and quite a bit lighter. The negative of the yarn was that in the wash the yarn shed quite a bit. I had a sizable scattering of yarn fibers left in my sink. I am hoping that this sweater doesn’t shed while wearing it.

Okay so let’s talk about the seaming on this sweater. I highly suggest if you are “allergic” to hand seaming than this is not the sweater for you. After knitting both sides, it took me about a week to seam the sleeves, sides of the body, as well as graft the front and back seams. I am not the best at hand seaming therefore, my grafting down the center seam  is not as invisible as the sample pictures. This is something that I can over look as I put a lot of effort into this sweater’s construction. Besides, who will notice but me?

Considering that it is over 30+ degrees Celcius here in Guangzhou I don’t predict I will not be needing this sweater for a long time.  However, I do have a trip planned to Melbourne in 4 weeks so I am hoping that it is still pretty chilly there so I can debute it.

Until Next Time,

-Whit-

Why I Knit

Debbie Bliss and Love Knitting are holding a contest call “Why I Knit.” Reading/ listening to many of the stories on the website got me thinking about the reason(s) I have invested so many woman hours into this glorious art of knitting.

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Recently, a co-worker asked if I would teach him how to knit. I agreed and he was knitting  in about an hour. That weekend he went home and sent me a few update to check that his piece was on track. On Monday, he reported, “I see why you like to knit.”  I smiled and said, “I am glad you found it. Many do not and just give up on knitting.” What is the it you say? Well it is that point where knitting just clicks for you and it becomes an act of pleasure rather than work.

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Knitting is the moment of the day where I get to clear my head and give my brain a chance to go into auto pilot. I get to loose myself in the methodical clicking of the needles. I mean how many times have you said, “Just one more row!” and it has turned into 20?

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I also get to meet my needs of being creative. Knitting has endless possibilities. Between the number of things you can make, to the color and yarn choices, to the method you use, there are no bounds to knitting. My brain has always been art-centered and knitting is an outlet for me to imagine and create.

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Knitting is also a community activity. Yes you can go it alone, however, it it so rewarding to fellowship with others. I have learned so much about knitting and technique from chatting it up with fellow knitters at a knitting group. The internet is also a wonderful thing. Reading blogs and watching videos has added so much to my personal tool box. Aside from technical stuff, knitting brings people together. One common interest can lead to a beautiful friendship of respect and caring.

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So Why do I Knit? I knit for my mind, I knit for joy, and I knit to connect with others. At the end of a project I feel such satisfaction knowing I created something from string. My finished garments almost feel like a piece of me. Within each stitch is a little bit of love.

Why do you knit?

Until Next Time,

-Whit-

PS: If you want to enter the competition to win £100 of Debbie Bliss yarn head here for the rules.